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Dublin: 16°C Wednesday 16 June 2021

Childline contacts surge to over 70,000 during three months of Covid-19 restrictions

The number of contacts to Childline.ie doubled compared to the same period in 2019.

Image: Shutterstock/mooremedia

THE NUMBER OF contacts to Childline surpassed 70,000 during the three months of lockdown, with domestic abuse, self-harm, suicide and Covid-19 anxiety some of the most common issues raised.

A total of 72,701 calls, texts and online messages were sent by children during the period 15 March to 28 June. 

During the three months, twice as many children used the Childline website as had used it during the same period in 2019.

John Church, the chief executive of the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children said that the lockdown could be a frightening time for children.

“While many children enjoyed spending time in the love and warmth of their family, for others this was a frightening time in which they were at home with their tormentor 24 hours a day, every day,” said Church.

More and more children and young people began turning to Childline for support online – they may not have felt comfortable having their conversation overheard at home.

The biggest spike was seen between 27 and 29 March, the first weekend where severe lockdown measures were put in place. There were 3,499 users on the Childline website that weekend.

Of the 71,701 contacts, 60,644 were phone contacts while the remaining 12,057 were through SMS or online chat. 

“The last few weeks have shown us that abuse, mental health difficulties and other issues do not stop in a pandemic. In many cases, they are experienced more acutely,” said Church.

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Church also welcomed the appointment of Roderic O’Gorman as Minister for Children, Disability, Equality and Integration, and that the voice of children remains at the cabinet table.

Childline thanked its volunteers for working to keep the service operating 24/7, across phone, text and online.

Childline is available to any child and young person up to the age of 18. It can be contacted online at Childline.ie, by calling 1800 66 66 66 or by texting to 50101.

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